Saturday, June 30

cookout

We had the neighbors over for a cookout yesterday. It was a lot of fun. They have three kids that Jake plays with all of the time, so I thought it was time that the adults got together to talk while the kids played. Evidently the evening was a success, as they stayed until midnight. We just had the typical BBQ fare--hot dogs, burgers, and chicken. We have a ton of food left over. I'm not sure how that always happens.

Thursday, June 28

happy anniversary to us

Brian and I celebrated our 11th anniversary today. All three of us went to dinner at Numero Uno to celebrate. We all enjoyed our dinners. The portions were kind of small if you compare it to other restaurants, but I thought they were just right. I mean, just how much food do you really need to eat, anyway? The prices were quite reasonable as well. We'll definitely go there again.

As for anniversary gifts, I got Brian a piece of luggage for his bike (this will come in handy for the motorcycle trip we're taking in August) and he got me a pair of motorcycle boots (this will come in handy when I'm riding a motorcycle). So, for all of you who didn't know, the traditional 11th anniversary gift is motorcycle-related.

Wednesday, June 27

by the light of the moon

This was another Dean Koontz novel. I think I've had my fill of him for a while. The book was ok, but it took me over a month to read, so that tells me it wasn't that great. No matter how busy I am, if I'm reading a really good book, I'll finish it quickly. This book kind of fell back on his old formula--there was a guy who met a girl and they were both in trouble and they overcame some evil and everyone lived happily ever after. The end.

Sunday, June 24

rum party

We went to a rum party at Doug's last night. The food theme was New Orleans, so I made my famous muffuletta for the occasion. Apparently it was a hit because it didn't last long. I made an extra one for us, so we'll be enjoying that for the next few days. The party was fun and the food was good (I do love that Nawlins cooking).

After spending a few hours at the party, we decided to head back downtown and check out more motorcycles. Here's a slideshow of the pics Brian took on Friday. Enjoy.

Saturday, June 23

thunder in the valley 2007

It's that time of the year! Yesterday, Brian took the afternoon off and he and Jake spent the afternoon downtown gazing at motorcycles. Normally I would join them, but I can't quite take any time off in my new job, so I spent the afternoon in our home office, slaving away at the computer screen.

After supper, Brian, Jake, and I took a few spins around the block on our bikes (As an aside, I think I'm progressing pretty well with the bike riding, but I still can't imagine driving in traffic at this point. Of course, last week, I couldn't imagine driving on a road, and the week before that, I couldn't imagine driving with my feet on the footpegs.), then we got ready and headed back downtown to catch some Thunder. We wanted to catch the fireworks later that evening, so we parked near City View and took the inclined plane downtown.

Jake was hungry so we got him an order of fries. He learned an important lesson yesterday evening--just because someone gives you a giant order of fries doesn't mean you have to attempt to eat them all. So, he spent the rest of the night with a bellyache. We sat down for a few minutes to give him a break and he took the opportunity to check out this cool chopper. The owner saw him, came over, and told him to hop on. I think that really made Jake's night. Shortly after this, we went back up the inclined plane and waited for the fireworks to start. The Clarks concert ran a little late, so the fireworks were late in starting, but they were worth the wait. I think they ran for about 30 minutes, which is quite long for fireworks. A lot of people left before they ended. We almost did, but Brian ran into someone he knew, so we were stuck there till the end.

Anyway, it was a fun evening. We'd like to go down there again today, but we have a bunch of other things going on, so I'm not sure we'll make it.

Tuesday, June 19

just like the good old days

I signed up for home delivery of milk today (through Vale Wood Farms). So, the milkman's going to be coming to my house on Friday! Isn't that cool? I think so. When I was growing up, the same dairy delivered milk to my parent's house, but that is not the reason I signed up. Thanks to my friend Steve, I'm more concerned with the food I'm putting on my table these days. I've been making changes as I can and I thought this would be an easy one to make.

The only difference between now and the days of yore is that I have to put a cooler outside--no milk box will be provided. I'm sure I will be paying a little more for this "milk delivery" privilege, but I think it will be worth it in the long run.

Sunday, June 17

i need a day off

What happened to the weekend? Yesterday, I got up, washed some clothes, then headed to Connellsville for a bridal shower. No sooner did I get home and we had to head to my parents for my dad's Father's Day visit. We had dinner there and then headed home. Brian went to practice and I went outside to stain the shed. I did that for about an hour (Jake helped, too!) and then went inside to straighten up the house, finish putting away clothes and to finish the Father's Day gifts Brian made for our dads. After that, I sat down for a few minutes before I had to go to bed.

Today, we went to church and then Brian's dad came over for brunch. Later in the afternoon, I had another bike lesson (turning and 2nd gear were on today's schedule!). Brian went out for a little ride as I relaxed on the couch. When he got back, we had supper and then headed outside to stain the shed. We completed the shed, but still have three-quarters of the playhouse left. That's on the schedule for tomorrow evening.

Anyway, I need a day off.

Friday, June 15

wild hogs

Brian's parents bought us a "Great Cheap Date" for our anniversary last year. We've been wanting to use it ever since, but the timing was never right. Until today. At first, when this movie came out, I thought it was going to bomb, but Brian really wanted to see it so I put it on "the list". As it turns out, this movie was really funny. At least it was funny if you're into sophomoric and slapstick humor. It turns out, I am, so I really enjoyed it (as did Brian).

Monday, June 11

trellis

We've been wanting to add a trellis to the sides of the shed and plant some ivy. Brian's mom has a bunch of ivy, so we were going to get it from her once we (or should I say, Brian) got around to building the trellises. Well, the other day when everyone came over for dinner, Brian's mom brought a bunch of ivy with her. So, the time was now. Brian spent all day yesterday building these nice trellises. They weren't up for long, though. This year, we're due to restain the shed. So, we opted to do it now rather than once the ivy was growing all over the place. This evening, we power washed the shed and Jake's playhouse and sometime in the next week we'll stain both buildings. This is one of two undesirable projects we have this summer (the other one is to trim the hedges in our back yard). It will be good to get this one over with early.

Saturday, June 9

coincidence?

Today, our neighbor mentioned that he was relieved that there weren't any pigeons around anymore (Brian had not refilled the bird feeder since the pigeons ate all of the food in it earlier in the week).

This afternoon, Brian tried to refill the bird feeder, but the top was stuck shut. Presumably, yesterday's rainstorm swelled the wood and caused the issue. Either that, or Elmer's glue played a role. I guess we will find out tomorrow once the wood has had time to dry out.

surf 'n turf: homestyle

Brian's dad has been wanting to have a surf 'n turf dinner. He provided the surf and I provided the turf and we had just that, this evening. The menu was comprised of the following: sausage-stuffed mushrooms, prosciutto-wrapped scallops, beef tenderloin, Alaskan king crab legs, salad, and ciabatta. I did everything on the grill and that worked out just fine. It was quite a dinner if I do say so myself. My mom provided the dessert, tiramisu--it was delicious.

Come to think of it, this is the biggest dinner crowd I've ever cooked for. We had nine people here this evening: Brian's parents, my parents, Brian's aunt and uncle, and the three of us. We got to use our new patio furniture again, though since there were so many people, we also had to get out our old patio furniture (I was planning on pitching the old stuff next year, but now I'm thinking about hanging onto it in case it is needed for such an occasion). Oh yeah--we had drinks, too. There was beer on tap, as always, and Brian's dad brought some chardonnay and shiraz and I bought a couple of bottles of prosecco for the occasion.

Anyway, it was a really fun evening, but after cooking all day, I am beat. You couldn't have asked for better weather today. I'm hoping tomorrow is just as nice because I have some gardening to catch up on.

Wednesday, June 6

eleven

June 5: To celebrate my birthday yesterday, Brian made me a delicious dinner of salt-crusted herbed cornish game hens, gratin dauphinois, and pan-roasted asparagus. I also received a new bird bath for my garden. And, speaking of birds, the rock pigeon has descended and taken over our bird feeding area. Brian filled up my new bird feeder on Monday night and it already needs refilled. There were around a dozen of them out there this morning, and again this evening (and probably in between, but how would I know--I was upstairs working). Anyway, I'm not sure what we're going to do about this, but I'm thinking we're going to have to do something.

June 6: My former manager, Doug (at this point, I should probably just refer to him as my friend Doug) and his kids came over for supper today. We just wanted to repay the favor--he's always inviting us to great parties at his house. Anyway, Jake had a great time playing with his boys and we had a nice evening talking. Dinner was pretty good, too. Brian made pasta sauce the other night and today, I cooked up some braciole and meatballs in it. I also made way too much spaghetti, garlic bread, and a salad. I'm still stuffed. I guess it's been a good week for eating around here.

Monday, June 4

my michelle

I got a motorcycle today! It is partially a birthday present and partially a frivolous purchase. We bought it at Zepka's used bike store. The bike is 20 years old, but it'll be a good one to learn on. And, it fits me perfectly. I guess my next step is to get my butt up to the DMV and get my permit. After a few months of riding, I'll take the motorcycle safety course that the state offers and get my license that way. I think Brian's more excited than I am, but it will be fun to have my own bike.

Sunday, June 3

ketchup

Jake's not getting home from Brian's sister's until this evening, so Brian and I took today to get caught up on some things around the house. After we got home from church, we straightened up the kitchen, living room and dining room areas. Then we had brunch (nothing exciting--hash browns, eggs, and sausage). After that, Brian headed down to the shop to work on Jake's window trim (which, by the way, is going to be totally awesome. I'll bet you didn't know window trim could be awesome. Well, it can.) and I started knocking some things off my "to do" list. It was a very productive day and it's not over yet. I still want to put some things away in Jake's room (things that haven't been put away since the remodel) and then I might call it a day. The next to last episode of The Sopranos is tonight, so I know for sure I'll be done with everything by 9:00.

Saturday, June 2

fallingwater

This morning, we took a bike trip out to see Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater. It was quite an interesting place--the way he integrated nature with the architecture of the house was really something to see. Years ago, Brian went there on a field trip while in school. I had never been there before, but have been wanting to go there for a few years now.

The bike ride was fun, too. We took 711 to 381, so it was nice, country roads the whole time. It was a little chilly when we were riding under cover of the trees, but I won't complain about that--it's better than being hot (as long as the bike is moving, you don't have to worry about that). We stopped at the Sheetz in Ligonier both on our way there and back to give me a little break. The trip was about 90 minutes each way and that's about as long as I'd want to be on the back of a bike for one day.

Friday, June 1

cookout

This evening we did our first entertaining of the summer. So you all can thank me for this evening's rain. Luckily, it stopped right before our party started, so it didn't ruin the evening for us. And, as a bonus, I didn't have to water the plants today.

Our friend John and his girlfriend came over for a little cookout. We had a great time. All the bases were covered--we ate, we drank, and we were merry. John's girlfriend is originally from the Ukraine and she brought pictures along from a trip they took there over Christmas. That was one of the many highlights of the evening. John's kids, while invited, did not make it this evening as they had other plans. I guess that's how it is with teenagers. As much as I like them, I was kind of glad they didn't come because Jake went on a road trip to his Aunt Jenn's this weekend (in New York state) and he would've been totally pissed to hear we had them over when he wasn't home. So, at least we won't have to lie to him about what we did on Friday night.